Wouter Montfrooij

[v-outer mont-froy]

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Missouri

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Our group investigates phase transitions in condensed matter, using neutron scattering in most of our work.

Our main research interest is the study of phase transitions in condensed matter. Of particular interest are phase transitions in which the ordered phase does not occur until zero Kelvin, the so-called quantum phase transitions. These transitions are different from 'classical' phase transitions in the sense that quantum fluctuations are more important than thermal fluctuations, resulting in a new type of ordering behavior. These transitions are primarily studied by means of neutron scattering experiments, and by susceptibility and transport measurements. We have two pet systems: CeRuFeGe and lithium-based spinels. 

We are also investigating why liquid metals behave so differently from non-metallic liquids. In particular, we have been looking at the magnetic properties of some of these non-magnetic liquids, and found that magnetic interactions are actually quite important on short time scales.

Together with Robert McQueeney and Mohana Yethiraj, we have been studying the Verwey transition in magnetite. We have looked into the old problems and discovered some new effects.

Finally, we are continuing the study of the superfluid phase of liquid helium, a phase in which the fluid has zero viscosity.

We do our neutron scattering work at the Missouri Research Reactor, and at national labs all over. We are working on an electronic course in neutron scattering, and on a web manual that explains the intracies involved with neutron scattering experiments.

Together with Bruce McClure and Marc Johnson we are running an outreach program called Saturday Morning Science. It is a series of weekly science talks intended for high school students and for anyone who has some interest in science. We are in our13th season now, and the talks are attended by about 100-150 people each Saturday (18,000 total during the first twelve seasons).

A textbook on liquids has been completed, entitled "Excitations in simple liquids, liquid metals and superfluids" which is due to appear September 2010 with Oxford University Press.



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